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Heroes' Day (Namibia)

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Title: Heroes' Day (Namibia)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Public holidays in Namibia, Immanuel Ngatjizeko, United Nations Institute for Namibia, Zephania Kameeta, Omugulugwombashe
Collection: August Observances, Fixed Holidays, History of Namibia, Public Holidays in Namibia
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Heroes' Day (Namibia)

Heroes' Day
Official name Namibia Day
Observed by Namibia
Date 26 August
Next time 26 August 2016 (2016-08-26)
Frequency annual

Heroes' Day is a national public holiday in Namibia. It is recognized by the United Nations as Namibia Day. Celebrated annually on 26 August, the day commemorates the Namibian War of Independence which began on 26 August 1966 at Omugulugwombashe.


  • Origin 1
  • Proceedings 2
  • Herero Day 3
  • References 4


In 1966 the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) in 1962. Many of its erstwhile commanders were in exile but PLAN began to infiltrate the north of Namibia to establish training camps. Omugulugwombashe was one such training camp, established in June 1966 by PLAN commander John Ya Otto Nankudhu. The group under Nankudhu had just started to build defensive structures[2] and planned to train about 90 soldiers there.[3]

On 26 August 1966, eight helicopters of the South African Defence Force attacked the guerrilla fighters at Omugulugwombashe. At the time of attack there were only 17 soldiers in the camp.[4] It was the first armed battle of the War.[5]

In commemoration of the day, 26 August is a public holiday in Namibia. It is recognized by the United Nations as Namibia Day[6] but Namibians refer to it as Heroes' Day.


National celebrations take place annually at different places, usually in the north of Namibia near important battle zones. Hundreds of people annually gather to watch leaders such as Hifikepunye Pohamba, Sam Nujoma and Nahas Angula officially commemorate veterans of the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN).[7] Likewise, honours, such as military medals, are handed out on the day.[8][9] Heroes' Acre, a war memorial outside of Windhoek, was opened on Heroes' Day in 2002.[10] It is also the same day that the United Nations Institute for Namibia, a tertiary educational body in Zambia under the auspices of the United Nations and forerunner to the University of Namibia, was inaugurated in 1976.[11]

Herero Day

Monument to Herero Chiefs in Okahandja: Gravestone of Tjamuaha, Maharero, and Samuel Maharero

The Battle of Waterberg on 11 August 1904 was the final battle of the Herero Wars. Following the defeat of the Herero force, the surviving Hereros fled under the leadership of Samuel Maharero,[12] who died in exile in the Transvaal.[13] After his death on 14 March 1923,[2] the South African administration of South-West Africa granted permission for his reburial at Okahandja, unaware of the role it would play as a commemoration of anti-colonialisation and a symbol of nationalism.

The reburial ceremony on 26 August 1923 was attended by 3,000 Hereros and by 100 Whites, including high-ranking government officials. Since then, Herero Day is held annually as a gesture of resistance, unity and loyalty, as well as defiance against colonisation, particularly that by the Germans.[2]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c 1923 in Namibia
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ United Nations Conferences and Observances
  7. ^ A military-clad Nujoma hands out 68 medals in The Namibian, 22 September 2003
  8. ^ President warns of 'havoc' as heroes laid to rest at Eenhana in The Namibian, 28 August 2007
  9. ^ Khomas calls off Heroes' Day event in The Namibian, 27 August 2003
  10. ^ Heroes' Acre 'free' for now in The Namibian, 29 October 2002
  11. ^ A Future 'University of Namibia'?: The Role of the United Nations Institute for Namibia, by Christian M. Rogerson, 1980, Cambridge University Press
  12. ^
  13. ^
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